13 June

Challenges of GenAI-powered localization in email marketing

Hanna Kuznietsova
Table of contents
  1. Challenges and concerns related to GenAI translations & human post-editing and ways to overcome them
  2. 1. Potential errors and miscommunication
  3. 2. Lack of consistency across channels resulting in poor user experience
  4. 3. GenAI translation tools may reduce creativity
  5. 4. Data privacy and security concerns
  6. 5. Loss of brand’s tone of voice
  7. 6. Imagery does not meet cultural nuances 
  8. How you can streamline this process with Stripo
  9. Wrapping up
Challenges and concerns related to GenAI translations & human post-editing and ways to overcome them

We've already explored various ways GenAI can enhance email localization, with translation being a standout application. This spring, we conducted a test comparing translations done solely by GenAI with human post-editing versus those done by traditional human translators.

The results revealed that both methods have their own strengths and weaknesses, yet they perform comparably well. This indicates that GenAI translations, when post-edited by a human translator, are a viable option for email marketers. You can find more detailed information about the tests here.

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However, integrating GenAI into your translation process isn't as straightforward as it might seem. You can't simply hand over GenAI-translated copy to a human post-editor and expect flawless results. Although combining GenAI with human post-editing has proven to be both cost-effective and time-efficient, there are certain preparatory steps you must take to truly benefit from this method.

Challenges and concerns related to GenAI translations & human post-editing and ways to overcome them

In this section, we'll delve into the common hurdles marketers face with GenAI-powered localization and outline practical solutions to navigate these challenges effectively.

1. Potential errors and miscommunication

  • technical terms or professional jargon replaced with synonyms: GenAI sometimes substitutes technical terms with less common or irrelevant synonyms. This risks delivering an incorrect message that your customers may not understand as intended;
  • service terms inaccuracies: Names of features or their applications might not be translated correctly, potentially leading to miscommunication;
  • idiomatic expressions: Although ChatGPT is adept at understanding idioms and their equivalents across languages, there's still a chance it might falter;
  • cultural nuances: Without specifying the country, it's challenging for GenAI to fully understand and incorporate cultural nuances;
  • loss of context: GenAI may struggle with grasping context-specific meanings, resulting in translations that don't convey the intended impact or meaning;
  • misuse of words with multiple meanings: Some AI-powered translators might incorrectly use words that have different meanings. For example, in Ukrainian, there is one word for "email" and "letter," leading to translations like "letter" or "electronical letter" for "email." Persistent corrections were needed to ensure the term "email" is used correctly, particularly in marketing contexts.

Solution to these challenges

Given that we are discussing the combination of GenAI translations and human post-editing, solutions require the involvement of both participants.

What you should do when conducting translations with GenAI:

  • provide a glossary: Equip GenAI with a comprehensive list of industry-specific terms and jargon;
  • provide context in the prompt: Sharing the context helps improve accuracy, but in my experience, there have still been some issues, such as the mistranslation of the word "email" from Ukrainian into English. This brings us to the next point;
  • use custom instructions: Clearly specify all relevant terms along with their equivalents in both the target and source languages. If you are translating your emails into more than one language, set custom instructions for each language.

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What you should provide your human post-editor with to ensure good results:

  • provide the source copy: Always, without exception, give the post-editor the original copy. They need it to verify whether the translations are accurate and convey the intended message;
  • validate cultural nuances: Ask them to consider and validate cultural nuances that are relevant for the target countries;
  • glossary: Supply a list of terms and definitions so the post-editor can replace GenAI’s synonyms with the correct terms and ensure that all terminology is used accurately.

Train your GenAI tools: After receiving your translations from a human post-editor, be sure to include some of their suggestions in the custom instructions for the GenAI tool and share other suggestions as context in future prompts.

2. Lack of consistency across channels resulting in poor user experience

As previously mentioned, GenAI may use synonyms for terms when translating certain features and their applications. This can lead to confusion when recipients see one term in the email and then find it named differently on the website it directs them to, causing them to overlook it.

Solution to this challenge

To prevent confusion, ensure that all features described on landing pages are referred to using the same terms as those in the emails. As described in the previous section, it's crucial to provide both the GenAI translation tool and the human editor with a glossary containing a list of terms and their definitions.

3. GenAI translation tools may reduce creativity

It's true that GenAI could miss nuances like wordplay or puns during translation — issues that also challenge even skilled human translators, which requires additional skills and time to maintain such creative elements.

Solution to this challenge

Consider sending "creative" emails primarily in your native language to preserve their original flair. If you wish to translate humor, wordplay, and other nuanced content into other languages while retaining their impact, explore services specialized in transcreation or creative translation. These options ensure that the essence and humor of your messages are effectively conveyed across different cultural contexts.

4. Data privacy and security concerns

When you translate content using GenAI, you're still processing potentially sensitive information through the tool, including customer data or proprietary business information.

  • sensitive information: When using GenAI, there is a risk of exposing sensitive or confidential information during the translation process, especially if the translation service does not have robust data protection measures;
  • compliance with regulations: Different countries have varying regulations regarding data privacy and the use of AI. Ensuring that GenAI services comply with these regulations can be challenging.

Solution to these challenges

  • check your GenAI tools for SO/IEC 27001 certification;
  • read through the privacy policies and service agreements of the AI translation tool. These documents should specify how data is handled, stored, processed, and protected. They should also explain how the data might be shared with third parties;
  • ensure that the AI tool uses end-to-end encryption for data in transit and at rest. This minimizes the risk of unauthorized access during the translation process and data storage;
  • verify if the AI tool has undergone independent security assessments by third parties. These assessments provide an unbiased evaluation of the tool’s security and compliance measures;
  • and most importantly contact your company’s lawyer for additional requirements and measures relevant to your country and your company before you start using GenAI to translate emails.

This guidance is crucial for safeguarding all forms of company communications processed through GenAI tools, including personal correspondence, ensuring data security and regulatory compliance.

5. Loss of brand’s tone of voice

A major concern for some marketers is the potential loss of the brand's voice. While our tests suggest this isn't a significant issue, it's still important to take steps to ensure your brand's tone remains consistent in emails, even through translations.

Solution to this challenge

  • specify the preferred tone of voice in custom settings;
  • in the prompt, suggest that AI adheres to the tone of voice established in the source copy;
  • ask tools like Grammarly or the GenAI translation tool you use to assess the tone of voice of your translations. If it does not meet your standards, ask the GenAI tool to adjust the copy before you hand it over to a human post-editor;
  • recommend that the post-editor maintains the preferred tone of voice when editing the translations.

6. Imagery does not meet cultural nuances 

A common pitfall is the use of images that are culturally insensitive or not reflective of the diverse perspectives of your target audiences. For instance, using the wrong symbols, inappropriate clothing, or incorrect animal representations can somewhat alienate recipients.

Solution to this challenge

  • verify image appropriateness and check for cultural sensitivities with GenAI: Utilize GenAI tools to ensure that your imagery is culturally appropriate across different regions. For example, make sure the steering wheel in car images is on the correct side — left for Canada and the US, right for the UK and Australia. Also, adapt wildlife imagery appropriately, such as using polar bears instead of penguins for Canadian and Alaskan (American) audiences. This comprehensive review helps prevent cultural missteps and enhances the relevance of your visuals for each target audience;
  • check for cultural sensitivities with a human post-editor: Have the post-editor review images for cultural sensitivities to ensure they are suitable for the intended audience. 

Here’s a list of cultural sensitivities to consider when using imagery in emails:

  • symbols and colors;
  • clothing and modesty;
  • gender roles;
  • local customs and traditions;
  • religious contexts;
  • political sensitivity;
  • historical sensitivity;
  • animal symbolism;
  • food imagery;
  • hand gestures.

How you can streamline this process with Stripo

Addressing all the challenges discussed here will not take you long. However, there is a way to speed it up a little:

Conduct GenAI translations with the Stripo Email Translate service

To let you translate emails in different languages, Stripo is integrated with Google Translate and ChatGPT…

  1. You set your source and target languages and activate the “Localization” service in your account settings.
  2. Then, once your email is ready, you use the Translate service in the editor so that Stripo creates all the language versions of your email automatically.
  3. You can now proofread each language version with GenAI.
  4. And then you can invite a post-editor to edit your translations right in the editor. In this case, you will not have to create each language version and paste translations manually.

Stripo will soon enable GenAI-powered email translations, automatically creating all necessary language versions for you. You will have to only review the results with a human post-editor.

We're now designing the “GenAI-powered translations” feature and welcome your ideas and suggestions. Share your thoughts in the comments or email us at

We have also prepared a guide with helpful insights, easy-to-follow tips, and useful resources to manage client communication in multiple languages successfully which you might find useful.

Effective multilingual email marketing

Wrapping up

As email marketing continues to evolve, GenAI-powered localization has proven to be a valuable tool, combining the speed of technology with the careful touch of human input. Our discussion has shown that while GenAI can effectively break down language barriers, it also presents challenges that need careful management.

Key insights

  1. Balanced integration: The optimal use of GenAI in email localization involves a balanced integration with human post-editing. This combination ensures that while the speed and cost-efficiency of AI are harnessed, the precision and cultural sensitivity of human oversight are not compromised.
  2. Strategic adaptations: Adapting GenAI tools to accommodate cultural nuances and specific linguistic needs is crucial. Tailoring these tools with custom settings and glossaries ensures that translations are not just linguistically accurate but also culturally resonant.
  3. Quality and consistency: Maintaining brand voice and ensuring consistency across various channels are significant challenges that marketers face. Employing GenAI requires a strategy that prioritizes these aspects to foster a coherent brand identity and user experience.
  4. Commitment to security: In an era where data privacy is paramount, ensuring that GenAI tools adhere to stringent security measures is essential. Marketers must remain vigilant about compliance with global data protection regulations to safeguard sensitive information.
  5. Future prospects: The journey of integrating GenAI into email marketing is ongoing. Continuous improvement, driven by feedback and technological advancements, will further enhance its effectiveness and reliability.

Even though this article highlights the importance of combining GenAI with human input for quality translations, in the next chapter, we will discuss scenarios where GenAI alone is sufficient for effective communication with customers via email. If there are any…

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